The Curtain Falls

WHOA It’s been a long time since I’ve posted!! Sorry about that; everything has been kinda hectic.

It’s been a couple of weeks now since my school’s run of The Crucible by Arthur Miller and I just want to take a moment to acknowledge my theatre family and the love I have for them. I have always loved being a part of theatre. My first role came in 1st grade as a puppet in The Sound of Music and I continued to be in productions through 7th grade. I then took a break due to lack of time and new-found interests.

But I got back into it last year thanks to my brother joining me in high school and joining the theatre department. He convinced me to try out for The Jungle Book. I auditioned and felt really good about it, but did not get a part. My brother got Mowgli (as a freshman!) and I was super proud of him but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for myself. After all, I was the one who had loved theatre all my life. But I supported him and all my friends who were in it.

On a day of one of the first practices, I stayed after school to wait for my brother. I sat in the back of the auditorium and watched as our director blocked and lines were read. It suddenly became too much, and I began to cry and shake. It was ridiculous and I don’t know why I reacted so dramatically. But there have only been a couple of other times in my life I have ever felt that sad. I think I was so upset because that’s how badly I wanted to be on that stage.

Then, a blessing came a couple days later. I was called into the theatre teacher’s classroom and she told me that a girl was dropping out and she asked if I wanted to be an extra in the show. I literally responded, “I’ll do anything you want me to do.” I was then cast as a wolf and I had never been more proud to play an animal in my life. It was such an incredible experience, from being on a stage for the first time in my grown life, to learning about costumes and make-up. But what I still can’t get over is the family atmosphere of it all. I was SO intimidated when I first joined the cast. I was some random kid who was lucky enough to be pulled in; what did I know? But everyone was so accepting. No one made fun of me or bullied me, or said anything negative to me. I was brought into a world of love and hard work. I had found where I belonged.

My brother shined as Mowgli; everyone loved him. I proudly played a wolf with hair three feet wide and a painted face and fake nose. I had so much fun being on stage and I realized I really loved what I was doing.

That love motivated me to apply for Thespians, the theatre honor society I had been dreaming of joining since youth. I was once again accepted immediately. All of my dreams were coming true.

After these experiences, I felt an obligation to the theatre department because it had become a new family for me. So this past summer, my brother and I came multiple times a week to help build sets and improve the auditorium. Sometimes it was hard work, but it brought me closer to some people within the department.

I loved being with these people so much, I was convinced to try out for The Crucible  this past spring. I auditioned with a monologue from Pride and Prejudice (the book of course) and for the first time in my life, I was given a named role. I couldn’t get over the thrill. I had four lines, but I was a character, a character that affected the plot. I can’t thank my director enough for allowing me that incredible opportunity. This cast was as close as the first and having my best friend in it made it even better. She was stunning in the role of Elizabeth Proctor. We had so many laughs, but they eventually came to tears as our last show came around.

As usual, we gathered about one hour before curtain to warm up. After we did so, our director told us to sit in a circle and we went around and said what we had learned from being in the show. I said that I had learned how to play a named character and that the department was once again accepting to those who, like me, had never taken a theatre class. That was about as emotional as it got until we got to the guy who played Hale, who broke down and let us know he had learned who his friends are. All of the girls were pretty much done after that.

Once the big circle was dismissed, our teacher gathered the seniors for an extra word. She let us know how proud she was of us and how much we meant to her. She then looked at me and one other boy and said that we may feel like we weren’t a part of the department, but we have been important to it and to her nonetheless. I can’t explain how much that touched me. For a girl who had never had this woman as a teacher, and who had only been in one other production, it meant the world that in that short time I was able to impact her life as much as she impacted mine. She then warned us that she would probably miss the majority of the show because she would constantly be excusing herself for crying. I’m not sure how often she left, but even if she didn’t, to know she cared that much was incredible.

After that talk, I lost all my wits and began to cry freely. Now, first you have to understand, I DON’T CRY IN FRONT OF PEOPLE (unless it’s during Les Mis). But it just suddenly hit me that this would be my last time with that cast, on that stage, and under that director. Backstage, I broke down and just hugged my best friend and cried on her shoulder until I could pull myself together. We then walked into the girls’ dressing room where EVERYONE was crying so we decided to join the boys who were rocking out in their dressing room. As we were sitting, I would randomly be attacked by the emotions and I would literally have to shake them out so I wouldn’t be choked up again. But things got happier; we had a massive cast sing-along to “Bohemian Rhapsody” which I thankfully caught on camera. It gave us the energy to go put on the best show ever.

It definitely ended up being our best show of all three. Even though it had the most screw-ups, it was by far the most emotional and convincing show we put on. Most people held themselves together until the very end, when Hale prayed the Our Father with Elizabeth. Hale began to break down two words into the prayer, causing me to start sobbing in my jail cell on stage. I cried until the very end, even through curtain call.

After the applause, we presented our director and the assistant director with some gifts and I expected to go backstage and cry straight afterwards. But then our teacher called the seniors forward for recognition and then gave us gifts: wall decals that say “Wish it. Dream it. Do it.” I definitely have special plans for this in my future dorm room. I honestly wasn’t expecting anything from her but she was kind enough to think of us during this exciting time in our lives.

We then had our theatre banquet a week ago. I knew things were going to get emotional but all was fine until the end. Our teacher called all of the seniors up (she went off of memory and forgot me until someone reminded her–pregnancy brain probs I guess) and read us a poem and some special words. Though nothing in particular she said made me emotional, I still became close to crying because of her amount of emotion. Two sentences in she was having to pull herself together. I couldn’t look at her without getting teary-eyed. I think I was just so touched to see someone express such emotion towards people she only sees about an hour a day (less so with me) and the amount of love she has towards them. After the banquet she gave us our Thespian tassels and I hugged her and said thanks. But I ‘m not sure if she knew just what I was thanking her for. I was thanking her for the confidence, advice, opportunities, happiness, and goodness she shared with me and allowed me to have. I can’t put into words how much this department and its director have meant to me.

I am sad to let the curtain fall, but I am thankful for the time I got to spend on that stage.

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